Killing the Dream broke onto the scene in 2004 with their blazing Self-titled E.P., which quickly garnered the attention of New England’s DeathwishInc, where the band would quickly find a welcoming home. In 2005, Killing The Dream laid down their breakthrough album In Place, Apart with God City Studios‘ mastermind Kurt Ballou (Converge, Trap Them, Disfear). The 12-song L.P. would go on to be hailed by critics and fans from around the globe as AP named In Place, Apart “Hardcore Album of Year” in 2005. KTD’s 2008 full-length follow-up, Fractures, once again saw the band reach new sonic levels of maturity and intensity as they continued to help define the melodic hardcore genre with a complimenting live interpretation that embodies youth-crew era emotion and passion from fans around the world.
Recorded by Zach Ohren and Pat Hills, Lucky Me, the band’s latest L.P. released last month on DeathwishInc, has Killing The Dream testing new waters. The album still holds onto the patented metallic hardcore presence the band is known for, while tying in denser layers of melody and instrumentation not present on prior recordings, complete with string sections and clean vocals.
We recently caught up with Killing The Dream vocalist and front man Elijah Horner, for an Exclusive Blow The Scene Interview where the charismatic singer sheds light on the band’s latest full length Lucky Me, favorite pastimes in Sacto, and his plans to replace all current members with the exception of Patches, all in the name of preserving street cred.
Joshua BTS: Greetings! And thank you for taking time to do a Blow The Scene Interview for readers around the World. Let’s begin by having you introduce yourself by declaring your weapon of choice with Killing The Dream.
Elijah H. Horner, esq. Weapon of choice- flaming rhinoceri horns. Hard to master, but deadly if you can pull it off.
Joshua BTS: Killing The Dream just released Lucky Me on DeathwishInc. What did the writing and recording process look like for this new 7-song L.P.? Any major differences to the approach with Lucky Me as opposed to your two prior releases on DeathwishInc, In Place, Apart (2005) and Fractures (2008)?
Elijah: Not really…we’ve always just written. I know that sounds like something every band says, but it’s true. We write songs that we like, and obviously over the course of five years, that will probably change a little bit. I’m really happy with how each record has turned out, and I think the rest of the band is as well.
Joshua BTS: With Lucky Me we see Killing The Dream putting more emphasis on melodic structures including clean vocals and additional string instrumentation. Was this a conscious decision or unspoken natural progression for the band?
Elijah: Again, we just kind of started writing. DJ and Isaac get together, and whatever is in their brains is what comes out. We tweak it and mess with it here and there, and then I put my lyrics/vocals over it, and it’s done. Although they continually deny my requests to include rapping, a disc jockey, and a hype man overlay. Maybe next record…
Joshua BTS: Killing The Dream did a lot of touring around In Place, Apart and also for Fractures. We haven’t seen as much major touring from the band over the last year or so. Should fans expect more tour outings now that Lucky Me has been released?
Elijah: In the words of my esteemed colleague Christopher R. Chase AKA Chase Powers AKA B. Robotz- ‘ya neva, eva know…’
Joshua BTS: For Lucky Me, Killing The Dream went with Zach Ohren and Pat Hills who sat at the recording helm. This seems to follow suit as the band shifted from Kurt Ballou who recorded In Place, Apart to J. Robbins for the recording of Fractures..Do you find it’s better to record a new album with different engineers to capture a unique sound for each record?
Elijah: Oh, I think you get different things from different producers, and that’s always a good thing. For the most part, our songs would have been the same regardless of who we recorded them with, but the feel of the records would have been completely different. I don’t think we went into any of our records with an exact plan for that- I mean, I don’t know if that’s really possible. So we really just picked producers that we respected and wanted to work with. Luckily for us, they were foolish enough to say ‘yes’ to us.
Joshua BTS: Can you tell us how the LP title Lucky Me came about? I know Killing The Dream has said on numerous occasions that you are purposely “not an issue oriented band.” What are some of the lyrical focuses on this new record?
Elijah: Lucky Me really is just a reflection of how I feel- lucky. Sometimes I’ll catch myself thinking it sarcastically when things don’t go exactly how I want them to, and I think that’s been reflected in our other records. Maybe I’ve focused on those times a little too much on other albums, when the truth is that I’ve been so blessed in my life, sometimes I feel guilty about it. You could even say the same for our band. So really, this record is just sort of looking around at myself and others and trying to be grateful for some of the wonderful things I’ve experienced.
Joshua BTS: Shortly after recording In Place, Apart in 2005, Killing The Dream went through some serious personnel changes. What is the current status of the band? Should fans expect more jostling of positions as Lucky Me hits the streets?
Elijah: They don’t know it yet, but I’m kicking out every member except Patches and replacing them with urban artists. When Lucky Me does, in fact, hit streets, I’d like to have some semblance of credibility there…which is why Patches can stay. My dude IS the streets.
Joshua BTS: When you are not active with Killing the Dream, what does your daily life look like?
10 hours – yelling at kids
8 hours – eating copious amounts of food
2 hours – reading Field and Stream magazine, writing letters to editor
2 hours – fortifying my bomb shelter and emergency food reserves
1.5 hours – e-harmony.com online profile maintenance
.5 hours – throw my Four Non-Blondes anthology on the Bose and power nap
Joshua BTS: Always like to throw one in for the gear heads. What were some of the new toys you guys played around with for the recording of Lucky Me? I noticed additional string instruments in a few tracks..Did you dabble with some instrumentation that saw the band leave their comfort zone for Lucky Me?
Elijah: I don’t know anything about gear, so I’m going to give you the top three reasons the Sacramento Kings should fire coach Paul Westphal.
A. lack of consistent lineup/rotation from game to game
2. failure to reign in talented young guard Tyreke Evans- too much freelancing/over-dribbling, stagnant, predictable offensive sets that often lead to bad shot attempts and shot clock winds down
iii. he probably hates pizza, ice cream, and/or ewoks.
Joshua BTS: As a touring band you surely have countless memorable moments. Anything happen recently that ranks in “Most Memorable on-Stage Moments” for the Band? Any memorable experiences off stage as of late?
Elijah: Not so much recently, but back in 2005 a lady in a wheelchair came up to me during one of our sets. She looked like she had something important to say, so I gave her the mic. Not only did she have literally nothing to say, but she refused to return the microphone to me, and I was forced to wrestle an older woman in a wheelchair so that I could finish singing the song. No joke- like I really had to use force to get this thing back from her. And I know what you’re thinking- no, I did not hit or strike her in any way. But I did challenge her to a pop and lock battle after we played. She won.
Joshua BTS: What do your tour plans look like as we head into 2011?
Elijah: Opaque. Maybe translucent. Those might mean the same thing. I don’t remember.
Joshua BTS: What are some bands out right now that are really exciting you? Whether they be hardcore bands or otherwise..
Elijah: The Carrier. Definitely. Every other band I knew has broken up. Oh, and Reign Supreme, they rule too.
Joshua BTS: Lucky Me has some pretty amazing artwork going on. Its seems Jacob Bannon always comes through with something special for your releases. What’s it like having one of the most influential figures in extreme music offering his visual interpretation of your music for fans?
Elijah: It’s incredible. I mentioned earlier how I feel like we’ve been so fortunate in so many ways…this is just another one of them. Really, the whole staff at Deathwish- from Tre and Jake to Nicole, Andy Rice, and Bexx…we are so lucky they wanted to work with us. We couldn’t have ended up in a better place for us.
Joshua BTS: We also like to hear about the unique peccadilloes of the members of the bands we cover. So tell us, what are some of the weird habits of the band members of Killing The Dream? Any bug collections or toe sucking fetishes you would like to talk about?
Elijah: Yikes. Besides Chris’s rampant sexual promiscuity, I think we’re all pretty normal. On tour, DJ loves urinating into bottles. Like, a lot. Even when we stop at a gas station, we’ll come back to find him chilling in the car with a fresh water bottle of ‘DJ Tea’ by his side. I think it has something to do with his love for the Kevin Costner classic ‘Waterworld.’ I could be wrong, though.
Joshua BTS: Favorite cartoon from the 80s?
Elijah: I really liked He-Man when I was little. That dude was legit.
Joshua BTS: Any final thoughts?
Be excellent to each other. Go kings.
“Blame The Architects” By Killing The Dream featured on Lucky Me – Purchase at DeathWishInc
Killing The Dream Live in Japan